The latest LED and plant growth information from our specialists


A brief history of LED grow lights

Are you looking to grow your own food? If so, then you may be interested in led grow lights. These are a type of lighting technology that is used for growing plants indoors during the winter months or year-round if certain factors allow for it. The history and evolution of this technology has been fascinating to watch as we have seen it change over time. Read on to find out more about what led grow lights are and how they work!

From the sun to electricity

In the past humans have been reliant on the sun and the seasons for their food, but this has led to problems during the winter months. To combat these issues people have used artificial light options such as candles or oil lamps which can be very expensive and difficult to maintain. Fortunately in recent years technology has advanced greatly and we’ve been given access to a variety of different lighting solutions that are not only more cost-effective than they once were, but also much safer for humans and plants alike!

What is an LED grow light made of?

LED grow lights consist of small led diodes in an array made specifically for growing plants indoors. These types of grow lights offer various features including full spectrum LED chipsets (which emit red, blue, green) so that your plant will receive all the necessary wavelengths required by its biological systems.

What came before LED Grow lights?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, LED grow lights were preceded by fluorescent lights and HPS bulbs. Fixtures were initially developed to be hung from the ceiling and a lamp would stand on top of them. Plants require light that is close to what we see in order for healthy growth, but typically fluorescent lighting emits too much blue light (blue spectrum) and not enough red or green (red/green spectrums). HPS lamps emitted all three types of lights, but they’re expensive and hazardous over time because their bulbs can break easily or shatter when you change them.

Why LED grow lights are better

The solution was LED grow lights! LEDs emit better wavelengths than most other types of lighting which means plants will have more success growing with less effort spent on your part. It’s also been shown that these fixtures are easier to install, are more efficient due to less wasted electricity through heat.

Are LED’s old technology?

The first LED diode was developed in 1962. Today, LEDs are a $100 billion industry and have become the fastest growing segment in the lighting market. They were invented in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr. The first LED was powered by a single AA battery and had a red light only, but it generated more lumens per watt than any other form of lighting at that time.

Things remained slow in the led grow light market as prices for the LEDs were still high, but that all changed in 1996 when James R. Biard patented a new type of LED (Bi-color) with red and green diodes on one chip.

This opened the possibility to produce white light with a single LED.

The first true indoor gardening LED grow lights

In 2002 the first LEDs in your typical stores were available but they had quite poor color rendering index and many people did not find them to be very bright or appealing, as well. In 2003 Cree Incorporated released their XLamp XP-E series of diodes which was revolutionary because it featured a deep red phosphor that improved the efficiency and performance of the LEDs by 500%. This led to an explosion in popularity for plants requiring more blue hues such as chrysanthemums, tomatoes, zinnias etc.

Some growers still found this inadequate even though these new lights were giving off higher levels of PAR per watt than standard incandescent bulbs. To further improve light output for plant growth, the industry began to produce lights that were more efficient in the red and blue spectrum.

The turning point

In 2015, Philips released their Agro+ line which included a new breed of LEDs with green phosphors. These had 30% better efficiency than other grow light emitters at producing PAR per wattage and are capable of emitting hues from deep blues all the way through infrareds for maximum plant health.

Where LED grow light technology is today

Today Samsung, Osram and Cree are the leaders in this niche market. Cree just released a new line of LED grow lights that are marketed as being the most efficient and best performing on the market, with an output rating at up to 100% more PAR per wattage than other leading manufacturers.

The Samsung 301H chips are the latest and greatest in the market, which have a much higher efficiency than other chips. The 301H chip is used by both Osram and Cree to create grow lights for nurseries who are switching over from HID lamps.”

In short, LED technology has gone through significant evolution since its inception back in 1962 with research into red LEDs being conducted at General Electric Labs in New York City. From this there was then an increased push towards more efficient alternatives that would replace HIDs as everyone’s go-to indoor lighting source.

Pushing the boundaries into the future

We’ve included the latest chips and drivers in our LEDgrow S-series grow lights and put them on individual channel dimmers to give you maximum control over your spectrum.

Nowadays LEDs are not only used for indoor hydroponic gardens, but have also become popular in agriculture because they can reduce electricity costs by 50-70%. They offer great cost savings and efficiency coupled with superb performance – making them one of the best choices when it comes to lighting your plants! This perhaps will prompt LED lighting technology faster despite supply chain disruptions. We’re already seeing 2.8-2.9 umol/J